Duo offer their own comedy version of Gladiator

Gloriator reveals just what happens when a glamorous French actress and her hapless assistant stage their version of Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator.

Monday, 9th April 2018, 5:19 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:29 am

The show plays Graffham’s Empire Hall (GU28 0QB) on Saturday, April 14 at 8.15pm, performed by English/French female comedy duo Spitz & Co, Susie Donkin and Pauline Morel. Gloria Delaneuf (Pauline) is well-versed in mime, mask and the mysteries of stagecraft. Her UK tour manager Josephine Cunningham (Susie) is not. Together they have created Gloriator – an awe-inspiring production of bravery, honour and costumes made out of cardboard.

As Susie explains: “It is a physical comedy about this glamorous French actress who has decided to stage a one-woman version of the film Gladiator because she wants to be like Russell Crowe and also to give voice to the female parts, though she doesn’t really do that. And she has enlisted the help of Josephine, this hapless, disorganised Englishwoman. Josephine ruins everything by being the worst assistant in the world. Gloria is so pretentious and so French, just so pretentious and arrogant, and she takes herself so seriously. She uses all the mime stuff, she does what she calls theatre of the face. It is complete pretentiousness with the utmost seriousness. She is very, very high status. Josephine is very, very low status.”

Susie and Pauline met at a Spymonkey clown workshop led by Aitor Basauri.

“We did this Spymonkey workshop, and as we both live near Bristol, we decided that we would do something together. It took years really of doing scratch things, doing ten minutes here and ten minutes there to find out what makes us funny as a duo, and so we started to devise this show.”

The piece has since been joined by follow-up show Glorilla (or Gloria In the Mist) about Gloria’s life-changing experience with the gorillas of the Kungalunga Jungle.

Glorilla has been touring since April 2016. A Christmas version with snow had a month’s run at the Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Drum in December 2016 .

The third and final show of the trilogy is currently in development. Gloria has decided that the only way to re-unite Europe and de-rail Brexit is through the power of theatre with her very own adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

Part of the pleasure of Gloriator is that it works equally well in the bigger theatres and on the rural touring circuit, Susie says.

“It’s just very funny. It is also very low-tech. There are not lots of lights. It is just us using cardboard costumes that we have put together, and that’s part of the comedy. Gloria is all very pretentious and yet she is playing these awful village halls with no lights, which is all just another indignity for her!”

Tickets 01798 867026.

For other stories by Phil, see https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2